This is a question I get fairly often from French people: new acquaintances, or old acquaintances who are finally asking The Questions.
There are a lot of things I love about living in France, but the quickest way to answer this question is by talking about the French lifestyle, or the quality of life here. I appreciate that people don’t expect you to answer e-mails after 5 pm, and that they aren’t running back to work in the evening or on a Saturday. Vacation time is valued and plentiful. A shop-owner won’t open on a Sunday just because she could make a few extra bucks, when she would rather be spending time with her family.
There is a lot of value placed on the family in general, and it’s not just political talking points the way it is in the US. Child-care is subsidized, part-time work isn’t as judged—everyone I work with knows that family requires time. Beyond that, work-life balance is more important here.
Unfortunately in explaining my answer I’ve made a lot of generalizations, and probably some people in more cut-throat jobs than mine won’t agree, which I’d totally understand.
There are of course other things I’ve always liked more personally about living in France: the history, the architecture, the language. But as I’ve grown into a full-time, long-term job, the lifestyle answer has definitely won out.
Of course the answer to this question is different when it’s an American answering.
What about everyone else? What do you say when you get this question?